Lewis Hamilton made it five wins in seven races and extended his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings even further with a dominant victory in Belgium last weekend, but can he now make it three-in-a-row by winning this Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix?
Hamilton came into the 2020 as the bookmakers’ favourite to win it all once again and the first seven races of the season have done nothing but confirm what the bookies and all of us thought coming into the campaign – it was going to take some effort to prevent the Mercedes ace from romping to world title number seven.
The six-time world champion endured a nightmare start to the season, by his high standards, as he was forced to settle for fourth place in the delayed season opener, but since then he has been almost unstoppable with the only other blemish on his record coming when he finished second in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone. That is the sort of blemish almost every other F1 driver would welcome and celebrate at this time!
But not Hamilton. He has established himself as the clear number one driver in the sport, aided by the number one car, and he has to be considered the man to back for the victory on Sunday. Hamilton was upstaged by Charles Leclerc in 2019 Italian Grand Prix, but he has been victorious in five of his last eight visits to this track and Mercedes have provided the winner in five of the last six. Current form and track record all points to a win for him here, but I am going further and backing him for Pole Position too – he has turned front row on the grid to victory five times already this season and should make that number six in Italy.
I also expect the Winning Margin to be between 5 and 10 seconds (inclusive). Hamilton blew away the opposition in Spain a few weeks back, finishing 24.177 seconds ahead of second place, but that is the only ‘blow-out’ race in terms of the gap between him and the runner-up this season. Three of his last four winning margins have been between 5 and 10 seconds, and that could become four in five as he takes the chequered flag here.
My final recommendation is something of a ‘bold prediction’ – although this track record is not that bold. Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have provided more DNFs than any other team so far this season, with the latter being the worst hit with three retirements in seven races. That has to make him the leading contender to be the first retirement here, and while he was not the first to go here 12 months ago, he did fail to finish. Lightning could strike twice for Magnussen on Sunday.
Italian Grand Prix Preview: Circuit Guide
With the exception of a handful of races, the city of Monza has been the host site from the Italian Grand Prix since it was introduced back in 1921. It has been forced to undergo numerous changes over the years in an attempt to boost driver, staff and fan safety because the circuit has been the site of a string of incidents that have resulted in the deaths of over 80 people. But even after those changes, the Italian Grand Prix remains one of the races that produces the highest speeds of the Formula 1 season. Michael Schumacher had been the most successful driver in the history of the Italian Grand Prix prior to the 2018 season, but with his fifth career win that year Lewis Hamilton moved level with the German legend in the all-time race standings.
Location: Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy
Number Of Laps: 53
Lap Length: 3.600 miles
Lap Record: Rubens Barrichello 1 minute 21.046 seconds (2004)
Italian Grand Prix Winners
|1924||Antonio Ascari||Alfa Romeo||Monza|
|1925||Gastone Brilli-Peri||Alfa Romeo||Monza|
|1932||Tazio Nuvolari||Alfa Romeo||Monza|
|1933||Luigi Fagioli||Alfa Romeo||Monza|
|1935||Hans Stuck||Auto Union||Monza|
|1936||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union||Monza|
|1938||Tazio Nuvolari||Auto Union||Monza|
|1947||Carlo Felice||Alfa Romeo||Milan|
|1948||Jean-Pierre Wimille||Alfa Romeo||Valentino Park|
|1950||Giuseppe Farina||Alfa Romeo||Monza|
|1953||Juan Manuel Fangio||Maserati||Monza|
|1954||Juan Manuel Fangio||Mercedes||Monza|
|1955||Juan Manuel Fangio||Mercedes||Monza|
|1978||Niki Lauda||Brabham-Alfa Romeo||Monza|
|2001||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||Monza|
|2005||Juan Pablo Montoya||McLaren-Mercedes||Monza|
|2011||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||Monza|
|2013||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||Monza|